Dixie Peach: The Five I'm Missing

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Five I'm Missing

Shelley, an American expatriate living in Rome, has suggested this meme for us other expats - five things you really miss about living in the United States (or whatever your home country is). I had to think about it for a bit because after having lived here for over nine years I've learned to stop missing things and go about finding an alternative to them. Still I was able to come up with five.

1. Food

The food one can find in the Southland of the United States and the food I find in Germany can really differ and sometimes there are just no suitable substitutes or finding the substitute is too much of a bother. I miss grits. I miss getting real brewed iced tea in just about every restaurant. I miss soft, fluffy buttermilk biscuits as big as a cat's head. I miss okra. I miss pie. What gives? Why can't one find pie in Germany? They don't even have a word for it - they call it Kuchen which really makes cake.

And I really miss barbecue. In the part of the world I'm from barbecue means pig and my favorite place to get me some pig is Corky's in Memphis.

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I'm thinking about a pulled pork sandwich doused with sauce and topped with cole slaw and I could cry tiny, bitter tears that I haven't had one in over two years.

I miss Sonic too.

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I'm not a huge fan of fast food but Sonic is different. When I go home for a visit, the first thing I do when I pull into my hometown is hit Sonic. I can't go home until I've had a bacon cheeseburger and onion rings or a Tater Tots with cheese. And a cherry limeade. All served to me by a nice little carhop.

2. Mayonnaise

Perhaps this should go under food as well but I'm so obsessed with this one thing that it gets its own listing. Yes, they have mayonnaise in Germany but it's not the same as what we're used to in America. The mayonnaise here is for putting in salads or for glopping on your fries. Germans just don't put mayo on sandwiches. I will use German mayo for potato salad (but it must be Knorr) but for sandwiches it can only be one thing:

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I am crazy for Hellmann's. It's the only mayo I can bear to even think about eating on a sandwich. And unfortunately it's not usually sold in stores here unless you've got a store with an American food section and they happen to have it. I don't so I have to either beg my friends and family in the US to send it to me or I order it from online American food shops. From them it comes in tiny jars for a big, big price but I don't care. Mayonnaise is the only thing I can eat on a sandwich and Hellmann's the the only mayo I'll eat on a sandwich.

3. Bookstores

I don't care if I do live in Germany. I don't care if I've lived here for many, many years. I could live here for a million years and one thing will never change - I like to read in English only. I just do. I simply can't get into a book if I read it in German.

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One of my favorite pastimes was to browse in bookstores for hours. Cramped and dusty ones, big and shiny ones - doesn't matter. Bookstores can be as soothing and peaceful and soulful feeling to me as a church. And of course they have bookstores here - I live across the street from one - but since I have no intention of ever reading a book in German, I am not drawn to be in them. Fortunately easily sells books in English so I can get my fix - but I really miss the browsing.

4. Magnolias

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Northeast Mississippi is home and where my family is and one can't think of Mississippi without thinking of magnolias. Their glossy leaves. Their creamy white blossoms. Their distinctive fragrance. I miss gigantic magnolia trees and Christmas wreaths made from magnolia leaves. I miss dogwoods too. And cardinals. And robins. And mockingbirds. Just all those things that I'd see that would let me know that I was home.

5. Ice cubes

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Now obviously Germany has ice. They have water and they have freezers and so it stands to reason that ice exists here. Or does it?

Freezers with ice makers are rare. I know of one person who has one and that's Christina - and she's Canadian! Ice trays exist but they usually make tiny cubes and aren't usually practical to use since most freezers in Germany are the drawer type. If you want ice in Germany you usually buy ice cube bags - freezer bags that you fill with water and the little openings in the bags make the cubes. I did that for a while and finally quit out of laziness. I simply learned to put my personal drinks in the refrigerator and for the Germans, they don't want ice and often don't even want their drinks too cold. Wimps.

The list I made here is of things that in reality I could live without and do live without and don't miss all that much. Except for the Hellmann's. I'm still obsessed with that and won't get over trying to get it at ever opportunity. But there are things in the United States that I miss horribly and there is no substitute. My family. Hugs from my nephews and nieces. Playing cards in my sister's kitchen. Sitting close with my mama in church. My darling friends. Going out to lunch with them or sitting with them and talking for hours. Southern accents. The old men that play checkers in front of the courthouse. A high school football game on a crisp Friday night. Being around things and people that are completely familiar to me and knowing I fit right in.

But Germany is home to me as well now. I'm lucky that I have two.

Are you an expat too? What are you missing from home? Or if you're still living in your homeland, what would you absolutely have to have to survive in another country?

I don't know if it's good or bad that my must have is Hellmann's mayonnaise. It's a workable problem but why couldn't it be a problem over something a little more chic?

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Blogger The Lone Beader® said...

I've never been to a Sonic. I always see the commercials, but there are none that I know of in MA. What's up with that=:(

What kind of birds do they have in Germany??

And, the ice thing is just weird...

1:42 AM  
Blogger Miz said...

You send me Kinder eggs...I will send you Hellman's and ice cube trays!

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I'm all over this meme! I love it :D

re Sonic: Oh My GOODNESS YES! When I lived in Texas I always stopped there before work to pick up- wait for it - a cherry pineapple Dr.Pepper LOL sometimes a Blue Ocean Water

hehe I'm gonna do this meme! have an awesome sunday Kim <3 <3

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this comes at such an appropriate time! Most of what I miss is food-related, too... cheddar cheese, pork sausage and okra top the list.

Other than that, I miss low prices and stores being open on Sunday. :)

I have a confession to make, though... I am so glad that there's no ice here. I got tired of having to order my drinks ice-free in the US.


1:03 PM  
Blogger The DP said...

I so ganked this... i miss store opening hours too...and grits.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

So now I can't wait to try Sonic next trip up to the states! I miss the same odds and ends you guys miss. Maybe I'll have to do this one too.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Birds in Germany. Hmmm...let's see. Sparrows. Pigeons. Blackbirds. Oh! And cuckoos!

Miz, we're gonna have to work out a trade. :)

Belinda, you and I truly are kindred spirits. Come to the US with me and we'll hit Sonic together.

Kitty, I hate too that I can't get cheddar cheese. I only want it when I cook Mexican but dang, it's important!

cncz - The store opening thing doesn't bother me so much since I'm at home during the day but nothing replaces grits.

Molly, I'd love to see what you're missing.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Renna said...

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks, but never posted before now. You poor, poor thing. No Hellman's mayo? I don't know if I could ever eat another sandwich, 'cept for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. You do have pb&j's, I presume?

Your country has one thing mine doesn't, that I'd trade for all the Hellman's in the world, though. My daughter! The little scamp also decided she wanted to live in Germany. Thank God for telephones, computers, and Hellman's mayo. :-)

7:04 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

I know this is very typical for an Englishman, but I really only miss good Fish & Chips! :)

I have spent over 18 years living outside of the UK so I don't really miss much at all really! :)

8:57 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Renna - we do have peanut butter and jelly here but the peanut butter in Germany isn't very good. It's too sugary and gritty for my tastes. Germans just aren't peanut butter eaters for the most part.

How does your daughter like it over here?

Haddock - Fish and chips are high on my list of things I loved about visiting England!

10:16 PM  
Blogger jane said...

when i lived in munich, i was taking the u bahn to get my hellman's. that thomy stuff was godawful. long live hellman's!

6:49 PM  
Blogger Beege said...

Mmmmm...I'm no expat, but I miss Sonic, too. I loved getting a Coke with lemon...their iced tea...or a diet limeade...HAD to be a Route44, too, so that there was plenty of that fabulous ice left over for me to crunch with the beverage was gone.

Give me a foot-long chili cheese dog with mustard, some tots, and a Route44 Diet Limeade and you've got yourself someone who's almost purring in contentment.

3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Grandfather was from Alabama and passed down that grits thing through my mom to me, a good Yankee ;-). I order grits online every 3 months here, LOL. (But they're the "instant" ones, not the good cook-on-the-stove ones). Otherwise, I miss the nice BIG stores everywhere, driving a car and... as sick as it is, Wendy's chili and bacon double cheeseburgers (sorry, but Burger King & McD's suck) and Taco Bell. The last one is pathetic, but I'm being honest. In Seattle I lived less than a mile from both, and to be able to hop in the car without makeup or a bra and be back home with some dinner in 15 minutes... I miss that.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One block west of my house? Sonic.

One block east of my house? A gigantic magnolia tree. Since our house is at the top of the hill and the tree's at the bottom, I have a great view of it.

I'll try to take some photos of it when it blooms in a few weeks. As for sending you the new banana pudding milkshake from Sonic? Well, I'll give you a full report once I finally have one. Probably later tonight. My blood sugar's awfully low. Gotta fix it.

3:34 AM  

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